Canon Digital Ixus 750
Available in silver-grey or satin-beige, the flagship Ixus 750’s clean lines and subtle curves are an evolution of the must-have looks the credit card-sized Canon range is renowned for. Also feted are the images delivered; the 750 packs in 7 megapixels to ensure plenty of punch to its pictures. But, given that you can now pick up a decent 8-megapixel compact from a name brand for a penny shy of £300, how else does the Ixus 750 justify an additional £100 for a million pixels less?
For starters, there’s a sturdy all-metal build that suggests it would cope well with being dropped. Second, the 750 allows a higher degree of image editing to be performed in-camera than is usual for a point-and-shoot. The most prominent feature being the My Colours option, wherein a block of colour can be replaced with a different one, or colour balance adjusted in-camera. Though a fun gimmick for anyone without a copy of Photoshop, it quickly becomes forgotten with general use. Usefully bundled in the box is a 32MB memory card to get you up and running, allowing the capture of around a dozen best-quality shots.
As expected from Canon, the Ixus 750 is one of the fastest compacts on the block. It powers up for the first photo in under a second, boasting barely perceptible shutter delay, and a blink-and-you-miss-it wait between shots at maximum JPEG resolution. General operation is also free from irritation, as is the layout – a large shutter button is handily encircled by the zoom lever, which is conveniently next to the on/off button. The fact that the back plate is dominated by a 2.5in LCD means the other function and menu controls are a bit squashed, though all fall readily under the thumb. There’s even an optical viewfinder squeezed in top centre, should you wish to conserve battery life during image capture.
When taking photos, the 750 quickly locks on target thanks to the 9-point intelligent auto focus system, shared across Canon’s compact range. There is also a manual mode selectable via the mode wheel, plus a range of familiar scene modes – portrait, fireworks and underwater – and the chance to capture up to 640 x 480 pixel (TV quality) video clips. The manual mode allows you to adjust exposure, white balance, select a photo effect – such as vivid colour, sepia or black-and-white – and adjust shutter speed for shooting in the dim without flash via the ‘long shutter’ function. Neat.
The Canon Ixus 750 is an almost-perfect pocket camera, with enough power to tempt an owner of a low-end compact into an upgrade, or an SLR convert to invest in a more readily usable alternative. Although there’s some loss of highlight detail in bright areas of an image, and occasional camera shake, there is plenty of detail on offer and colours are pleasingly natural. My chief grumble is that the 750 is expensive compared with the competition, but the palm-sized dimensions and tactile, smooth all-metal build go some way to making up for the hit on your wallet.